Applications that are developed and deployed using cloud-based technologies are known as Cloud-Native Applications. They are hosted and managed by the cloud. It is built, tested, deployed, and managed in the cloud. In other words, it is run from end to end in the cloud. These applications exploit the advantages of the cloud computing delivery model.
Cloud-native application platform software aims to revolutionize software delivery by supporting platform ops and DevOps capabilities.
Source: Gartner, Inc
Cloud-native application development is an approach to speed up building new applications, optimizing existing ones, and connecting all of them. It involves DevOps, agile methodology, cloud platforms, containers like Kubernetes and Docker, and continuous delivery. It speeds up the process of development and deployment. There is a term Microservices here. These are discrete and reusable components. They are designed to use in any cloud environment.
Microservices are also known as building blocks and are often packaged in a container.
Cloud-native applications are mostly based on a microservices architecture. This approach is basically multidimensional, representing a challenging change cycle where complete focus and attention are paid to the journey rather than the destination. Therefore, this approach is all about building new applications and modernizing the existing ones based on the principles of the cloud, adopting the services and processes that are optimized for the agility and automation of cloud computing.
But how can this be done? Is there any related platform?
Cloud-Native Application Platform
We need a platform for developing cloud-native applications to build, test, and deploy them. An organization needs a platform for building and managing their services that automate and integrate DevOps, microservices, continuous delivery, and Containers. This platform is termed as Cloud-Native Application Platform.
Types of Cloud-Native Application Platforms
Cloud-Native Platforms are mainly divided into two forms:
- Structure Platforms
- Unstructured Platforms
To address the shortcomings of PaaS, some companies come with some open source projects. These platforms are structured platforms that address the shortcomings of PaaS. VMware created such that platform Cloud Foundry. Red Hat also created OpenShift. Both of these platforms are open source. They support multiple languages and Frameworks.
Many business and startup build their own platform using cloud-based and homegrown tools. These unstructured technologies start working together to move towards semi-structured platform models. It’s one of the examples coming is from Open Container Initiative (OCI) and Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). Netflix, Airbnb, and Pinterest built their application platform favoring an unstructured UNIX-like tool model.
Need for Cloud-Native Platforms
Today is a world of cloud-native applications. They make a revolution in how teams develop and run the software. This necessitates the need for Cloud-Native Platforms. Containers and microservices are writing vast numbers of applications. This technology impacts every industry. Each industry is going to the cloud for its applications. This is a big change as virtualization.
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How Cloud-Native Services Work?
Building and managing Cloud-Native applications automate and uses the concepts of DevOps, Continuous Deployment, Microservices, and deploying Microservices in containers. Microservices is a modern architecture that allows the development of the application as a set of tiny services; each service has its business logic, runs in its isolated process, and communicates with other services via HTTP REST API endpoints. Each Microservice is usually deployed, scaled, and managed independently of other Microservices which constitute an application. Often, it happens in an automated fashion, which enables frequent updates in batches to production. It also helps in getting fast feedback and quick fixes to bugs.
Containers usually manage all Microservices as distinct independent services, Docker and Kubernetes come into the picture. Containers allow computing, memory, and networking resources for different Microservices.
VMs were suitable for monolith applications, but in the case of 10s or 1000s of different Microservices, Containerization is the best way to deploy and manage them. Containers are lightweight and provide the own isolation for packaging Microservices into single units.
The whole components process of building and running modern Cloud-Native applications includes –
- It is the base that provides all computing resources for applications.
- Modern public Cloud computing services as well as Private Cloud provides all the services to run, scale, manage all Microservices.
Provisioning the infrastructure
- Tools to provide the infrastructure.
- Tools such as Terraform, Ansible helps in this process.
- Services provided by Cloud computing companies to architect an Infrastructure.
It provides –
Deployment, Orchestration, and management of Applications
Tools such as Kubernetes for Deployment and Orchestration of Microservices in Containers. Services discovery happens through a tool such as –
What are the tools for Managing Cloud-Native Applications?
- Fluentd – Used for logging. It collects and shares log data and sends to log aggregations tools such as AWS CloudWatch.
- Prometheus – Monitoring tool which records Time-Series data for distributed Microservices.
- Kubernetes – Container orchestration system to deploy and manage Containers.
- ELK Stack – Provides complete monitoring solution.
- Grafana – A Visualization tool.
- AWS, Google Cloud – Provides Cloud computing services.
- Istio – Enables Service Mesh.
Benefits of Cloud-Native Application Platform
The cloud-native application platform provides consistent development and automated management experience across public, private, and hybrid clouds. Listed below are some pivotal benefits regarding the same.
1. Faster Release
In today’s world, the key point of success of an organization is its speed of service. The faster an organization can conceive, build, and ship value to customers, the more likely it will succeed. And for faster service, DevOps play a crucial role. Using DevOps, they transform the software delivery pipeline using automation, building automation, test automation, or deploy automation. And cloud-native applications support DevOps process and automation, which is not possible in local development processes and limited server-based software developer processes.
2. Ease of Management
Cloud-native helps to make infrastructure management effortless. Using serverless platforms like AWS Lambda and Azure function, they don’t need to manage or worry about operating like configuring networking, allocating storage and provisioning cloud instances, etc.
3. Reduced Cost
Containers manage and secure applications independently of the infrastructure that supports them. Industries are using Kubernetes for containers. Kubernetes is an open-source platform that is standard for managing resources in the cloud. Cloud-native applications are using containers; hence it fully benefits from containerization. Alongside Kubernetes, there is a host of powerful cloud-native tools. So it has standardization of infrastructure and tooling. Hence, it helps to reduce cost.
4. Reliable System
In cloud-native applications, we use approaches like microservices and Kubernetes. It helps to build applications that are fault-tolerant with self-healing built-in. Even when a failure occurs, we can easily isolate its impact. Hence, it does not impact the entire application and does not take down the entire application.
5. Avoid Vendor lock-in
Days are gone when legacy vendor issues of some year lock-in licensing proprietary hardware. Today, hybrid and multi-cloud are normal as it is a world of open source and cloud technologies. Enterprises are using an on-premise data center and at least one public cloud platform. Even the conversation among the cloud platforms has become graduated to enabling portability across clouds. So now, we can never lock into a single vendor. Redhat OpenShift is an example of this.
Enterprises are not choosing just one infrastructure. They are making cloud-native applications that can run on any infrastructure such as public or private cloud without any changes. So users can run an application on any platform without locking it into one vendor’s cloud.
Auto scalability is the main feature of cloud-native applications. To handle future needs by default, applications will scale automatically. And it will cost only for the resources that will be in use.
Cloud-native applications support auto-provisioning. They will automatically go for self-service and programmatic provisioning when they need some resources. So, this will help applications to run smoothly without the need for any manual intervention. Cloud-native application platform provides a new runtime environment for operating the applications securely, efficiently, reliably, and at scale.
Learn more about Cloud Native Computing Foundation
The Challenges Ahead
- People nowadays are trying to shift their old on-premise applications to the cloud. But this is not feasible as they can’t take advantage of an essential feature of cloud-native. So, instead of this, they have to create new cloud-native applications.
- User needs to adopt new approaches. Waterfall model or Agile development might not be enough. They have to adopt Minimal Viable Product, rapid iteration, multivariate testing, and DevOps model.
- Cloud-native includes many new terms such as Containerization, microservice architecture, and observability. This all due to a new way of doing things. Hence, the user has to leave old approaches and adopt new ones.
What are the Best Practices Cloud-Native?
Auto-provisioning – Automatically provision different environments using code that is VCed in GIT.
Auto-redundancy – Cloud-native apps are highly resilient to failure. When an issue occurs, apps move to another server or VM automatically and seamlessly.
Auto-scaling – Increases/Decreases the resources whenever the spike in traffic is there. The application design was done using Microservices.
- API exposure – Expose API using REST or grpc.
- Enabled Testing.
- Enable Firewall and Service Mesh.
- Utilize Multi-Cloud Deployment.
- Setup Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery.
A world of the cloud surrounds us all. Enterprises are moving to the cloud very rapidly as it is providing more features to the user. Handling data, building applications, and providing services using the cloud is very easy. They are easy to manage, and it cost only on a use basis. So what are your thoughts now!